TCU Vice Chancellor: Use on-campus safety measures to prevent sexual assault incidents

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    TCU Police reported Monday night that a known acquaintance had attempted to sexually assault a student. The incident is the second sexual assault reported in four days after a female student reported being sexually assaulted at a campus residence hall on Aug. 18.

    Students should make it clear about whom they want to associate with and take advantage of the university’s safety measures, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Cavins-Tull said Tuesday in response to the two recent sexual assault incidents.

    “The problem is that in both situations it is not a stranger coming into a space. It is two people that know each other and [get] into an intimate situation that they don’t want to be in,” she said.

    Cavins-Tull stressed that it is important for students to be very clear who they want in their private environments and who they do not. If a student is uncomfortable being in an intimate situation, he or she needs to communicate with each other and respect each other’s decision, Cavins-Tull said. 

    “We have a lot of structures in place so that students don’t have to have people that they don’t want in their buildings,” she said.

    TCU security and police officers are present on campus all day and night, and Froggie Five-0 and ID cards to enter buildings are in place to ensure safety on campus, Cavins-Tull said.

    “[Students] have to be our partners in being safe on campus. They have to respect each other. They have to be able to talk to each other,” Cavins-Tull said.

    Cavins-Tull sent an email Tuesday afternoon to all students with remarks about the incidents and tips on how to prevent similar situations from happening. In her e-mail, Cavins-Tull encouraged students not to be afraid to say “no” and to look out for one another.

    The TCU Police and Campus Life are prepared to handle situations such as sexual assault, Dean of Campus Life Susan Adams said.

    Sexual assault on college campuses is a big concern because it is a very under-reported situation, Adams said Tuesday.

    “We encourage reporting to both Fort Worth police and campus police, and we respect the confidentiality of the student who makes the complaint,” Adams said.

    Campus Life has an advocate program for students and provides counseling services if needed. A student may choose to make a complaint internally to the university and not through the Fort Worth Police Department. Every incident reported is taken seriously and handled with personal care, Adams said.

    Adams provided a statistic based on national research that says that one in four college-aged women will have some kind of sexual assault experience.

    Both Cavins-Tull and Adams agreed that the university strives through its work and the work of students to prevent future sexual assaults on campus.